The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #13068   Message #114088
Posted By: Vixen
14-Sep-99 - 09:12 AM
Thread Name: Threads on the meaning of Folk
Subject: RE: Threads on the meaning of Folk
For What It's Worth--

When I teach students Creative Writing, they often come in with the notion "I'm a poet." (occasionally, they're correct!) I ask them to list the poets whose work they have read and enjoyed. Most of the time, the only poets they can remember reading are themselves and the only poems they recall are their own. I then ask them to define what type of poems they write. They usually say "free verse." When I ask them to define any other forms, they rarely know of anything other than haiku and sonnet. So my next questions to them are, "How do you know you're a poet if you don't know any poets well enough to know their names or their poems?" and "How do you know what you write are free verse poems if you only understand that they aren't sonnets or haiku?" I then like to to give them Archibald MacLeish's "Ars Poetica" and ask them to write a poem of their own that defines their poetic sensibilities. The ensuing discussion enables me to facilitate their education.

What's my point? Well, we are all part of the cultural traditions that we have experienced. We can't (usually) effectively contribute anything to those traditions until we are conscious of them and examine them some. My confusion about folk cleared up a great deal in the discussions referenced above as I developed definitions of Traditional, Folk, and Contemporary Music. As I see it, we Mudcats are examining, at great length, our collective cultural traditions, and seeking a harmonious, consensual, (love that word!) taxonomy so we can communicate clearly with each other without unintentional offense. May the discussion continue!!!

V (casually tossing another $0.02 into the hat and stepping off the soapbox!)